Historic Power Station and Wharepoke Falls

The Historic Power Station is a feature on the Kerikeri River Walk. Beyond it is the attractive Wharepoko Falls, the first of two waterfalls on the walk.

The small hydropower station was developed around 1930 and was the first electricity supplier to Kerikeri, which probably indicates how basic life was at the time. The project was developed by George Alderton, a property developer who saw an offer of power as a way to sell land. Some of his would-be buyers were the wives of ex-British civil servants from Asia who were used to having servants to support their households. Electricity was the alternative for relatively new-fangled things like washing machines!

Alderton hired Lloyd Mandeno to investigate the project requirements. was employed to investigate the potential of a hydro station on the Kerikeri River. He planned to take water from the river and the Puketotara Stream. Local gum diggers dug a 1.5 km open channel to divert water to the power station, which started with 17 customers in 1930. Eventually, the enterprise was made redundant by connecting Kerikeri to the national power grid.

The Wharerpoke Falls are a short distance west along the track. They are photogenic at 5 metres high with a 20-metre-wide basalt face. There is a large pool at the base, but the access is rocky and straggly, not as conducive for swimmers as Rainbow Falls, 45 minutes west on the track. An option if you prefer to avoid a crowd!

10 images

We're on Instagram

Follow Trip Ideas for more great content like this